"To increase the acceptability of the scheme amongst informal sector workers, the government has modified the APY. The individual subscribers shall have an option to make the contribution on a monthly, quarterly or half yearly basis instead of on a monthly basis earlier," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The APY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kolkata on May 9, 2015.    Under the scheme, the subscriber, who must be in the age group of 18-40 years, would receive the fixed pension in the range Rs 1,000-Rs 5,000 per month after attaining the age of 60 years, depending on contribution which would vary at the age of joining.

The statement further said that discontinuation of payment of contribution provision has been substantially modified in favour of the subscriber. "The account will not be deactivated and closed till the account balance with self-contributions minus the government co-contributions become zero due to deduction of account maintenance charges and fees," it said.

The penalty on delayed payment has been also simplified to Rs 1 per month for contribution of Rs 100 for each delayed monthly payment instead of different slabs given earlier, the Ministry added.

Similarly, premature exit from the scheme before sixty years of age was not permitted, barring exceptional circumstances, the statement said adding, "Now the modified provision permits the subscriber to voluntarily exit with conditions."

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